The UpRising bakery and cafe in Chicago’s Lake in the Hills will close at the end of March amid rising attacks on the premises for hosting a drag performance, its owner has announced.
“Closing our doors is the direct result of the horrific attacks, endless harassment, and unrelenting negative misinformation about our establishment in the last eight months,” owner Corinna Sac said in the news release on Friday.
Her establishment has faced "horrific attacks" and "endless harassment" for its support of the LGBTQ+ community, CBS news quoted Ms Sac as saying.
The bakery was opened in 2021 to serve baked products, along with gluten-free and vegan options. They also provided wedding cakes for LGBTQ couples.
She added: "From an award-winning bakery that donates to local organisations and supports diversity and inclusion, we have been rebranded by misinformation as ‘gay only’ and ‘paedophiles’. Local customers no longer come here because of the perceived threat that tarnished our good name and the fears of their licence plates are photographed, and they are harassed."
“Everything I have is in this business – our home, cars, retirement, savings,” she said, and added that the force behind the bakery has “put everything we had on the line and personally secured this location, our equipment, and our dreams”.
The woman added that she was hoping to make a difference by serving delicious food for all, the report added.
"Seeing gluten-free and vegan products sold with 350 per cent markup saddened me. My heart broke reading emails from same-sex couples seeking a bakery for their wedding cake. People in this community need us," she said in the release.
The first attack on her establishment was in July last year when Ms Sac organised a family-friendly show at the bakery and featured drag performances.
This sparked outrage and the night before the event, attackers smashed the doors and windows of the bakery. Hate messages were also painted on the building.
Ms Sac said her staff and the customers visiting the bakery were also attacked. The protestors were outside UpRising bakery for days, harassing patrons and photographing their licence plates, she added on the release.
She and her children also received threats on social media, the owner said.
“This was almost a year after the space had been utilised for events without comment,” Sac said in the release.
Ms Sac said that the bakery’s sales and patronage have taken a severe hit due to the constant harassment and vandalism, combined with lack of support from the local administration.
“Without an infusion of more than $30,000, at this time, I cannot keep the doors open to my dream bakery,” she said in the release, reported Chicago Sun Times.
Fundraisers are planning to stop the bakery from shutting down on 31 March and are looking to provide financial support to Ms Sac and her staff, the report added.